Print
Eater Boston

Where to Eat and Drink During the Head of the Charles Regatta

Don’t go hungry while watching the world-famous rowing event
Competitors at last year’s Head of the Charles Regatta.
 | Carlin Stiehl For The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Every fall, the Boston stretch of the Charles River turns into a racing venue, attracting scullers and sweepers from around the world to a competition that lures in tens of thousands of spectators. This year’s three-day regatta will kick off on Friday, October 20, and goes until Sunday, October 22. Whether you’re planning an outing with friends or have someone to cheer on, here’s a list of fantastic spots to pick up coffee, pastries, and quick meals for picnics. Better still are the beer gardens and sake bars for celebrations afterward.

Joe’s Pizza

If your plan is to view the race from near Harvard’s main campus, you’re in for a treat. Joe’s Pizza, the famous New York City slice shop, made its Boston debut in September, attracting lines of pizza aficionados from all neighborhoods.

3 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

(857) 259-6085

Visit Website

Print
Boston Magazine

The Most Beautiful Restaurants in Greater Boston

They’re packed with bold furnishings, lush greenery, and luxe designs—and, oh yeah, the food’s pretty great, too.

Wusong Road

Chef Jason Doo grew up in his family’s American Chinese restaurant in Malden, so when the Menton alum had the opportunity to open his own spot, he dreamed up an ode to those memories, from tiki mugs to crab Rangoon. Now, he’s filled two stories of the skinny Conductor’s Building in Harvard Square with tiki-style artifacts in every nook and an eye-popping collection of vintage finds (wicker peacock chairs from the 1970s, Navy diving helmets), with a backdrop of tropical wallcoverings and thatch overhangs.

As a result, there’s certainly nothing in Greater Boston that looks quite like Wusong Road. Perhaps most unique is the main stairwell: Inspired by the “three wise monkeys” shrine in Japan and crafted by general contractor Tiki Rancher (a company that specializes in tiki- and tropical-themed spaces), it features dripping greenery and weathered stone.

Doo himself was quite hands-on in the design and building of the space, whether painting resin monkey-shaped lamps from Italy to look like brass or working with a doll dressmaker to design mini fezzes for the monkeys to wear. The work is never quite done—he decorates the space elaborately for Christmastime, and he’s frequently introducing new custom tiki glassware—so there’s always something to explore here, ideally with a Malden mai tai in hand and a few plates of crispy ma la tater tots and classic pork-and-chive dumplings.

Cambridge, wusongroad.com.

Print
The Harvard Crimson

Donut Miss Out: Union Square Donuts Rolls into Harvard Square

Boston-based donut chain Union Square Donuts made its debut in Harvard Square on Saturday.

Situated at 15 JFK St., the new location is the latest addition to Union Square Donuts’ existing roster of stores in Boston, Brookline, and Somerville.

The award-winning shop opened their first location 10 years ago in Somerville before moving to 20 Bow St. in Concord, Massachusetts. According to co-founder Josh Danoff, Union Square Donuts has been “actively looking” for a location in Harvard Square throughout the chain’s “slow and steady” growth.

“We’ve always had our eye on Harvard Square. It really was always a location that we wanted to have,” Danoff said.

According to Danoff, Union Square Donuts has been involved in Harvard spaces for a number of years, including bringing donuts to the Tuesday farmers’ markets in Harvard’s Science Center Plaza.

“This just feels really great, having gone from having our donuts in the case on a rack at the Harvard farmers’ market to having a brick and mortar,” Danoff said.

“It’s a small shop, but I walked in and I had a smile on my face,” he added. “Our team did such an amazing job of taking a very small space — and with all the requirements that go into a space — and just getting everything in there that we needed.”

The shop’s interior features a glass display of their donut offerings. Aside from the classic flavors of donuts, Union Square Donuts offers specialized flavors such as “Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar” and “Salted Brown Butter Cruller,” and the store is “constantly coming up with seasonal flavors.”

“This is donut weather, so we have a lot of apple and pumpkin and just those fall flavors that, when you live in New England, you just gravitate towards,” Danoff said.

Christine Li, a visitor to Cambridge, said she wanted to see what food Cambridge had to offer and decided to try out Union Square Donuts, which she described as a “great store experience.”

“It leaned on the sweet side, but I think there was a depth of flavor that balanced out the sweetness,” Li said.

Lauren Crum, a customer, described her donut as “delicious” and was impressed by the “huge sample sizes.”

The store’s free sample tastings are a “plus,” according to customer Emily Song, because customers can try the flavor before ordering.

“I don’t see that at any other shops,” Song said.

Union Square Donuts is currently open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with plans to extend hours as they finalize logistics.

“We took the opportunity and are incredibly, incredibly excited to be able to call Harvard Square home for Union Square Donuts,” Danoff said.

Print
The Harvard Crimson

‘We Love the Atmosphere’: Harvard Square Celebrates Oktoberfest and Honk!

Harvard Square filled with live music, food trucks, and people on Sunday to celebrate the 44th annual Harvard Square Oktoberfest and 18th annual Honk! Parade.

The Honk! festival featured a parade of local activist groups and free live performances from street bands. The festival lasted from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8, traveling to various neighborhoods in the Boston area.

Honk! is a street band movement that is “outrageous and inclusive, brass and brash, percussive and persuasive” and draws inspiration from a diverse range of music styles from around the world, according to its website.

David Brancazio, a pianist who has been participating in Honk! since 2015, said he originally saw the Honk! parade go down Massachusetts Avenue and knew he had to join, but he knew he couldn’t push a piano down the street and learned the melodica instead. He said that the festival has now “become a pretty big part” of his life.

Honk! is built as an activist festival, Brancazio said.

“People are used to going out and chanting the same things over and over, but when they have a street band with them, it becomes more fun for everybody and becomes more powerful,” Brancazio said.

Like Brancazio, who started the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians, Chantal Sanchez also attended Honk! to support local activism.

Sanchez, a recent graduate of the Harvard Divinity School, is a member of the Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign, which combats inequality at the intersection of systemic racism, poverty, environmental destruction, militarism, and religious nationalism.

Sanchez said the Poor People’s Campaign and Honk! use music and art as a way to “connect with people and get the word out.”

Declan J. Devine, who is from Roslindale, Massachusetts, joined the Jamaica Plains Honk! band about a year and a half ago. He said his favorite part of the band is “seeing so many people who are comfortable being themselves in the bands, who are just expressing themselves and not worrying about judgment.”

Abby A. Fechtman, a Cambridge resident, attended with her spouse and two daughters. She said she and her family are “Huge Honk! fans” and have been following Honk! for about 15 years.

“We love the atmosphere in Harvard Square and how lively it is, and we missed it during Covid,” Fechtman said.

Their daughters, Isabel H. Macedo and Luisa E. Macedo, grew up going to the festival. Isabel Macedo — who is now a sophomore at Cornell — said she remembers getting her palm read in middle school by a palm reader who predicted that she would have three kids one day.

Having lived in Cambridge for 21 years, Marcille C. Macedo — Fechtman’s spouse — considers Honk! his favorite event of the year.

“I love the spirit of Honk!” he said.

As Honk! concluded its three-day festival Sunday evening, Brancazio said he looks forward to seeing Honk! continue “to be a force for helping people fighting for social justice, economic justice, racial justice.”

Print
Boston 25 News

Things to do in Massachusetts this weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend? Boston 25 has a few ideas for you.

Harvard Square Oktoberfest and Honk Parade

If you’re seeking something a bit more seasonal this October weekend, head to the 44th annual Harvard Square Oktoberfest and Honk Parade in Cambridge. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can enjoy a variety of beer gardens, food, crafts, entertainment on two stages, and the lively honk parade! Also joining this event is the 2nd annual Filipino American festival

Wherever you go this weekend, have fun!

Print
Hoodline

Union Square Donuts Set to Delight Cambridge’s Harvard Square with Scrumptious Expansion

Cambridge’s Harvard Square beckons a new denizen – local favorite Union Square Donuts eyeing expansion to this historic location as per NBC Boston. An inviting sign at 15 John F. Kennedy Street amplifies anticipation for local residents and aficionados of this esteemed donut brand.

With its distinct and toothsome offerings, Union Square Donuts has carved a niche for itself across the region. Its footprint includes the Somerville’s Union Square and Assembly Row, Boston Public Market, Brookline, and the Time Out Market in the Fenway. This maiden venture into Cambridge is poised to draw Harvard Square’s bustling crowds. As reported by Boston Restaurants, the expansion, which began in May, was spearheaded by Union Square Donuts’ director of operations Lynn Sniffen, who hoped to open the new store to coincide with “apple cider doughnut season.”

Although the inauguration date remains unconfirmed, the to-be location is already creating a buzz among locals and food connoisseurs. With the success of their previous outlets, the new addition to Harvard Square is anticipated with bated breath by the nearby community. The Union Square Donuts’ lineup includes a range of mouthwatering treats, promising their customers an encounter with some extraordinary flavors sure to satisfy their sweet cravings.

Print
The Boston Globe

Cambridge Church to remove 302-year-old golden rooster weathervane

The golden rooster that keeps watch over Cambridge Common atop the spire of the First Church in Cambridge will soon be leaving Harvard Square after 150 years.
The golden rooster that keeps watch over Cambridge Common atop the spire of the First Church in Cambridge will soon be leaving Harvard Square after 150 years.

The golden rooster that keeps watch over Cambridge Common atop the spire of the First Church in Cambridge will be leaving Harvard Square after 150 yearsthis fall, and the congregation will soonbegin discussions on whether it should be sold and if they will install a replacement, church officials said.

The historic weathervane was created in 1721 by Shem Drowne, the same coppersmith who made the grasshopper on top of Faneuil Hall, and was designed for a church in Boston’s North End, according to the First Church.

At age 302, the weathervane itself is quite weathered on one side: video shot by a drone shows considerable erosion of the gilding on the right-facing side of the cockerel, especially along the tailfeathers, according to the Congregational church on Garden Street.

Print
Boston University

Nine Ways to Spend Your Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend

This Monday marks Indigenous Peoples Day, a time to commemorate the Indigenous peoples of America. As you enjoy the last bits of warm weather, take some time to learn about Native American history and honor the tribes who have lived in Massachusetts for centuries. Elsewhere across the city, there are spooky Halloween happenings, local art shows, and lively festivals. Take advantage of the first three-day weekend of the semester and start exploring.

HONK! Festival

Celebrate the annual HONK! Festival’s kickoff in Davis Square, Somerville. A 17-year local tradition, HONK! brings together brass bands from across the country for three days of music and activism. The festival aims to unite the community through street band performances, workshops, political protests, and more. Drawing from diverse inspirations like Klezmer, Balkan, Romani, Afrobeat, and hip-hop, the festival’s music is lively and engaging. On Friday night, attend a lantern-making workshop and lantern parade. Then, watch various bands perform around Union Square for the rest of the evening. Festivities continue Saturday and Sunday, and include parades, performances, and workshops. 

Friday, October 6, to Sunday, October 8. Find the full schedule of events and locations here

Oktoberfest in Harvard Square 

Harvard Square’s annual Oktoberfest returns this Sunday ready to light up the quaint, intellectual area with live music, performances, food, and beer. Oktoberfest is a German tradition that began as a Bavarian crown prince’s wedding celebration in 1810. Now over 200 years later, Germans and Americans alike celebrate Oktoberfest each autumn with much fanfare. Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest features performances on multiple stages, crafts, various international food vendors, vintage goods, and of course, beer gardens.

Sunday, October 7, 11 am to 6 pm, Harvard Square, at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and Cambridge Street. 

Print
Boston Restaurant Talk

Union Square Donuts Is Getting Ready to Open in Cambridge’s Harvard Square

A local group of donut shops appears to be close to opening another new location, and this one will be its first in Cambridge.

According to a source (Adam Adkison), Union Square Donuts has a sign up for its newest location which will be on JFK Street in Harvard Square, joining existing outlets in Somerville’s Union Square and Assembly Row, Boston Public Market, Time Out Market in the Fenway, and Brookline. An article from Cambridge Day in May had mentioned that the donut shop was indeed looking to open in Harvard Square, saying at the time that it was hoping to open “just in time for apple cider doughnut season,” according to director of operations Lynn Sniffen.

The address for the upcoming location of Union Square Donuts appears to be 15 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138. The website for all locations can be found at https://unionsquaredonuts.com/

Print
Universal Hub

Historic golden rooster in Harvard Square could soon come down for repairs – and possible sale

Drone video of the more damaged side, by First Church.

The leaders of First Church in Cambridge plan to take down the “golden cockerel” weathervane that has topped the church spire since 1873 for repairs. But in discussions set to begin this Sunday, parishioners will consider whether the church should then put the historic rooster back atop the spire – or sell it.

Although the weathervane has long been a part of the Cambridge scene, the dawn-seeking golden bird dates back even further – to colonial Boston, when it was created as a way to slyly – and publicly – insult a North End minister.

Local historian Charles Bahne recounts that coppersmith Shem Drowne – who also built the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall – crafted the cockerel in 1721, on commission from a group of Bostonians who were angrily splitting away from a local church and building their own congregation:

It originally stood on the New Brick Church on Hanover Street in the North End, which later became home to the Second Church in Boston. Paul Revere worshipped in that building for most of his life; Ralph Waldo Emerson preached there for 3 years, before he gave up the ministry to become a writer and philosopher.

New Brick Church was the product of a bitter dispute amongst parishioners of a different North End parish, the New North, and the rooster form of its weathervane was intended as a deliberate insult to Peter Thacher, a minister at New North: in the Bible, Peter betrays Christ when the cock crows. Upon placing the new weathervane on its spindle for the first time, “a merry fellow straddled over it, and crowed three times to complete the ceremony.”

The new parishioners really hated Thacher. In fact, on the day he was installed as minister of New North (on a vote of the church “brethren”) a procession through the North End had to be called off, and Thacher quietly led through alleys to the church, for fear his haters would attack him. And then they filled the church balconies and, according to one account, “did sprinkle a liquor, which shall be nameless, upon the people below.”

New Brick Church actually backed up against the Revere family property – and was one of the most prominent structures in the town, so the insult really stood out.

In 1768, Revere himself included the church in an engraving showing British soldiers landing in Boston after riots against the Townshend Acts the year before.

From Revere’s engraving (complete image):

Part of Revere engraving showing the rooster